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Helping our vets

image Robert Howland Jr.

AUSTIN – The Tiny Home, HUGE Gratitude! Project was recently launched to build a 176-sf tiny home for Robert Howland Jr., a disabled low-income veteran in need of housing. The tiny home includes a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area and will sustain long-term mortgage-free housing for Howland. This is possible with assistance from the Operation Tiny Home Pay-it-Forward Veteran Housing Program.  The nonprofit collaborates with builders, suppliers, landowners and communities nationwide to provide tiny homes for eligible veterans with severe housing instability.

To kick-start the Tiny Home, HUGE Gratitude! Project, Bo Bezdek, owner of Austin Tiny Homes, generously agreed to build Howland’s home at no profit to his organization. The project also received a $5,000 grant from the Kansha Foundation. Operation Tiny Home launched a crowdfunding campaign on their website to raise the additional $19,998 needed to finish constructing the home.  Once the house is complete, the tiny home on wheels will be transported from Austin to Big Spring, TX where Howland 's sister and brother-in-law offered him a permanent home.
     Howland has struggled with housing instability and homelessness since his honorable discharge in 2003. As a result of time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has suffered with TBI, PTSD and a leg injury that makes walking extremely painful. 
    "Returning to civilian life has not been easy,” he said. “Coming home living with pain and unable to work and care for myself is not something I was ever prepared to deal with.  I never want to be a burden on my family and with a tiny home, I can be close to them, but also maintain independence.  This is the first time in a very long time that I feel hopeful for my future.”
     Living in Big Spring and near his family will also allow Howland to live just 10 minutes from a VA hospital where he can get the medical attention and support needed for his continued recovery.
    “Providing a disabled veteran with a home is a powerful way that the community can come together to say ‘thank you’ and show their support to those who have given so much in service to our country,” said Gabrielle Rapport, co-founder and executive director of Operation Tiny Home. “A stable home and the promise of a life of dignity is something we believe everyone deserves, especially our veterans who were injured during their service!”
     Operation Tiny Home is a 100% volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Primary funding for this project is being raised through donations made online at the Operation Tiny Home website. The project has raised $6,915 of its $24,998 goal. You can support the project by visiting http://www.operationtinyhome.org/tiny-home-huge-gratitude-project. For more information, call 650-282-3588 or visit www.operationtinyhome.org –cw

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